Top 10 Things Only Canadians Do (And Think It's Normal)

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Top 10 Things Only Canadians Do (And Think It's Normal)

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
Those crazy canucks are at it again! For this list, we'll be looking at aspects of Canadian culture that may appear unusual in other parts of the world, but are completely normal in the Great White North. Our countdown includes Eat Ketchup-Flavored Chips, Make Unencumbered Visits to Cuba, Buy Milk in Bags, and more!
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Top 10 Things Only Canadians Do and Think It Is Normal


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things Only Canadians Do and Think It Is Normal.

For this list, we’ll be looking at aspects of Canadian culture that may appear unusual in other parts of the world, but are completely normal in the Great White North. And I should know: I am Canadian!

What do you think is the most unusual thing about Canucks? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Eat Ketchup-Flavored Chips

Whether you call them chips or crisps (Canada is a Commonwealth country, after all), flavored potato chips are a common snack across the globe. From BBQ to bacon, plain, rippled, or even dill pickle, the flavors of this popular snack run the gamut. However, one flavor is notoriously famous for being available almost exclusively in Canada: Ketchup. The condiment-flavored treat is a huge favorite of Canadians (because it’s delicious) and one that often confuses visitors from other countries. Although its origins are a little fuzzy, it was likely inspired by the long standing pairing of ketchup and another potato-based food: French fries. Either way, it’s one of many unique food items that many Canucks seem to long for.

#9: Wear Shorts in Cold Weather

Yes, the stereotypes are true: Canadian winters can be bitterly cold. But what many may not know is that the climate goes extreme on both ends. Sure, some places might dip below -40 in the winter, but some summers can see highs of 104°F - or 40 above zero in celsius, as Canadians would say. So with such a broad spectrum, it’s no surprise that locals have acclimated to drastic changes in temperature. So much so that it’s fairly common to catch someone wearing shorts that you’d likely associate with warmer weather in the winter. After enduring the heavy cold for several months, some residents will break out the shorts and walk outside in sub-zero temperatures. No one’s going skiing like that, but you may very well see someone walking to the store in the snow in shorts and sandals.

#8: Give Their Coins Unique Names

In 1987, a gold-colored coin was introduced to eventually replace the Canadian one dollar bill. Slightly larger than a quarter, the one-dollar coin depicts Queen Elizabeth II on one side, and on the other is a bird seen widely across the country: the loon - hence its cute nickname “loonie.” In 1996, the two dollar bill was also replaced with a coin that received its own moniker: the toonie; as in the number two and the loonie (even though it has a polar bear on it). Among Canadians, these two coins - and their unique names - are quite treasured. In fact, at the 2002 Winter Olympics, a lucky loonie was hidden under the ice where both the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams won their gold medals. Have you ever heard a more Canadian story than that?

#7: Put Clamato in Bloody Marys

Should you travel anywhere in the world and walk into a bar and ask for a “Bloody Mary”, the bartender is likely to serve you a tomato juice based cocktail. But for Canadians, their red drink is known as a Bloody Caesar and has one distinguishing difference from its counterpart: clam broth. Instead of tomato juice, Canadians use a mixture of both tomato juice and clam broth, known most famously as Clamato. A signature cocktail, the Caesar is almost as common in Canadian bars as any of the high powered beers the country is known for. So next time you’re above the 49th parallel and looking for a zesty beverage, try replacing your Bloody Mary with a Caesar and your taste buds will thank you.

#6: Send Letters to Santa (Who Lives There)

Every year, countless kids send letters to Santa Claus hoping to get their favorite toys for Christmas. For Canadian young’uns, it’s even easier given that Santa’s address is actually in Canada; it even has its own special postal code: H0H 0H0. Kids (and kids at heart) can send letters addressed to the “North Pole” in Canada and are guaranteed to receive a reply. Whether the North Pole is actually in Canada is currently under debate, but that certainly hasn’t stopped thousands of kids from sending letters every year. The country’s national mail carrier, Canada Post, makes use of volunteers - or Santa’s elves, if you will - to help keep this program active year after year.

#5: Make Unencumbered Visits to Cuba

Contrary to popular belief, residents of the United States are actually allowed to travel to Cuba if you’re willing to jump through a series of hoops to get there. But due to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, tourism hasn’t been permitted for years. Canadians, however, have not had any such restrictions. Cuba is often cited as one of the most popular destinations for Canadians who wish to escape the cold winter months. Most major airports have direct flights, and countless inexpensive, all-inclusive packages have made it easy for Canadians to enjoy beaches, sun and - if interested - cigars in this Caribbean destination.

#4: Celebrate Thanksgiving in October

A holiday to celebrate the harvest is fairly common around the world. But in modern media, we often hear about American Thanksgiving in November, and the Black Friday sales and chaos that follow. For Canadians, the same Thanksgiving holiday is actually celebrated in October. Seemingly originating in 1579 during Martin Frobisher’s excursion to find the Northwest Passage, it slowly evolved as the years passed. Often dubbed “Canadian Thanksgiving” to distinguish it from its U.S. counterpart, Canada is not the only country that celebrates it in October. Grenada, Saint Lucia, and even Germany celebrate similar festivals that same month. And, honestly, it’s nice to have a longer break between this giant meal and the one in December!

#3: Are Sorry About Being Sorry

Ask virtually anyone around the globe to describe a Canadian and they’ll likely use one word: friendly. Canucks are widely considered some of the friendliest people in the world. So friendly, in fact, that we've been stereotyped for apologizing for almost anything and everything. It’s become such an ingrained part of Canadian culture that the Ontario government had to pass the Apology Act in 2009, which stated that an apology doesn’t automatically comprise an admission of guilt. It’s one of the more quirky aspects of Canadian culture that certainly distinguishes us from other countries… who shall remain nameless. Sorry, we’re just too polite to call them out.

#2: Buy Milk in Bags

At one time, the milkman came to your house and dropped off your bottles of milk. As cartons became the norm, people got used to buying them in stores. For Canadians, the shift from the imperial measuring system to metric also brought something new: milk in bags. As companies were shifting all of their containers to new sizes, milk bags were easy to change. Quickly enough, bagged milk became quite popular and is still widely used today. Canadians aren’t the only ones who use it either. China, Israel, South Africa, and even Argentina all make use of the arguably more environmentally friendly container. But cut that corner hole too big and you are in for an udder-ly disastrous bowl of morning Shreddies.

#1: Sing National Anthem in Both Languages

Fun fact: the original “O Canada” national anthem was actually written in French and then translated to English in 1906. And since then, the lyrics of the anthem have been updated occasionally to reflect the changing times. But one thing that hasn’t changed is how both English and French are frequently intermixed during public performances. Often sung at sporting and other major events, it is fairly common for some portions of the anthem to be sung in English, then switched to French (or vice versa) and then back several times - I like to call this “the hockey version.” Given how both are official languages of the Great White North, it’s a small way to showcase how the country leverages both of these great languages.
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